EVANSTON, Ill. — The University of Iowa volleyball team used a .413 attack percentage and 49 kills to down Northwestern in straight sets Saturday in Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Hawkeyes improve to 12-4 (2-2 B1G) on the season, marking the team’s best start to a season since 1994.
“Our whole group did a great job tonight,” said UI head coach Bond Shymansky. “Our passing really anchored us and allowed Loxley (Keala) to run our offense. You could see that with the even distribution we got. We had so many kills from so many different places.
“I just loved the fight. You go up 2-0 into that locker room break, and it’s hard to sustain momentum. We just came out with fight and grit to finish it out.”
The Hawkeyes used a .355 attack percentage and 17 kills to overwhelm the Wildcats in set one. After a back-and-forth battle to start the set, Iowa went on a 5-0 run to take a 10-7 lead. Senior Lauren Brobst (2) and redshirt freshman Meghan Buzzerio (1) added kills to the rally, while junior Annika Olsen served an ace. Northwestern fought back, tying the set at 11, before the Hawkeyes regained the lead on a 4-1 run. Iowa controlled it from there, closing with a 5-0 rally behind three kills from Brobst to win the set, 25-18. Brobst paced the Iowa offense in the set, registering seven kills and a .417 attack percentage.
Iowa stayed hot in set two, capitalizing on four Northwestern errors to take an early 5-0 lead. The Wildcats came within four points four times, but the Hawkeyes remained in control to win the set, 25-16. Iowa hit .424 in the set, behind five kills from senior Ashley Mariani and Buzzerio.
After a back-and-forth battle to start the third game, the Hawkeyes utilized a 7-2 rally to take a 15-10 lead. Sophomore Reghan Coyle registered back-to-back solo blocks, while Mariani, Brobst, and freshman Cali Hoye each added kills. The Hawkeyes controlled it from there, going on to win 25-19. Iowa closed the set with a 7-3 run behind five kills from Brobst.
Three Hawkeyes reached double figures in kills, including Brobst (14), Buzzerio (11), and Mariani (10). Senior setter Loxley Keala dished out 45 assists, and Olsen paced the team with 10 digs. Coyle led the team with five blocks (2 BS, 3 BA), while junior Jess Janota added four (1 BS, 3 BA) and Mariani tallied three (3 BA).
The Hawkeyes return to action next weekend, hosting Purdue (Oct. 7) and Indiana (Oct. 8) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.